When I was a little girl, I sawed a snake in half.
How it happened was that early one morning my mother discovered a green snake tangled around the old Victorian cane rocking chair at the foot of her bed. I heard her say “Oh dear! What do I do?” For my mother, this was a very strange comment because she always knew what to do.
So I ran along in my pyjamas to see what was happening. There she was, in her nightie and curlers, holding a broom in her hands, looking not happy at all.
We hatched a plan. Being the stronger of the two of us, she would disturb the snake until it loosened its grip around the curly canes of the chair, and then hold it down firmly on the floor with the handle of the broom. I was to do the kill.
A knife was too short and would get me very close to the biting end of the snake, whereas in the corner of the kitchen, there was an old rusty saw that mother had used to lop down a dying pawpaw tree. I grabbed it.
She dislodged the snake, who was now desperate to escape and then she brought the broom handle down hard just behind the head and pinned it to the floor whilst I sawed bravely right next to the broom handle, away from the thrashing end.
It was slow work. Crunchy sounding. Messy. And I was only a kid. But an escaped snake in a house where it could disappear unnervingly was not an option. We did well as a team. The snake had no chance.
And afterwards, we ate a triumphant breakfast.